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AbstractThe area of mobile communication is fast
developing as a result of the technological advancement in the
field of mobile and wireless communication. Obviously, 3G was
once acclaimed as a recent technology in the field of wireless
and mobile communication until the arrival of 4GLTE. The
quest for a faster speed, lower latency, better QoS and ability to
interoperate with all existing network are some of the factors
that brought up the emergence of 4GLTE network. In this
paper we provide an overview of all network generations from
the first generation to the fourth generation as well as the
differentiating features that supports the superiority of the
4GLTE network to the 3G network are well stated. We use
self-analytical tools like bar charts to compare the features of
4GLTE and 3G networks. The concluding part of this paper
presents improvements needed in 4GLTE.
Index Terms3G, 4GLTE, OFDMA, comparison of 3G and
4GLTE networks.
According to Hodgkinson [1], the emergence of wireless
communication never came on board recently but for many
decades the improvements were done to make it more
developed to meet the end users’ needs, more importantly in
the area of mobile communications. The development in
mobile broadband use is vivid recently, such that Internet
generation grows to having broadband access everywhere.
This affirms the mobile broadband market share and forecast
report given by The NPD Group that active mobile
broadband devices will reach 34million, a nearly 50 percent
increase from 2013. In recent times, browsing of the Internet,
sending and receiving of emails, sending and receiving of
music and videos are done through the use of the 3G network.
With 4GLTE, the user experience is better enhanced as the
lower latency brings better experience in gaming and other
graphics related software. LTE was initially planned by NTT
DoCoMo of Japan in November, 2004 as the international
standard [2]. Today different cellular and wireless firms want
a major increase in capacity which has to be carried in
coming years beyond fourth generation of wireless standards
in Long Term Evolution (4GLTE) [3] or 3GPP Long Term
Evolution [4].
According to Kumaravel [5], 4GLTE network brings
better benefits in its performance and capacity to both the end
users and service providers. Even the migration from 4GLTE
to LTE-Advanced and device to device communication [6]
was done to a certain extent in non-African countries. But
African countries are still experiencing challenges even to
use and implement the 4GLTE network. Some of the
Manuscript received November 18, 2014; revised May 20, 2015. This
work was supported in part by University of Johannesburg.
The authors are with University of Johannesburg, South Africa (e-mail:,,
promised benefits of 4GLTE are: downlink peak rate of
100mbps and an uplink peak rate of 1Gbps, a low latency of
less than 20ms, and a speed of 200mbps. With these
improvements over 3G network, 4GLTE is superior and can
be regarded as the needed technology for present developing
The remainder of this paper is organized as follows: In
Section II we discuss the objectives and in Section III, we
provide a brief description of the network generations from
1G to 4GLTE. Section IV deals with the methodology used
for our findings on why 4GLTE is superior over 3G. In
Section V we provide the data analysis and results of
comparative features between 3G and 4GLTE with priority
given to the benefits of 4GLTE over 3G network. Thereafter,
formulation of data to affirm comparison between the two
networks was also done in this phase of the paper. In Section
VI we use self-analytical tools like bar charts to establish the
described merits of 4GLTE network described in Section V
of the paper. Finally, in Section VII we conclude the paper
showing the challenges faced by 4GLTE network in recent
The main objective of this paper is to compare 3G and
4GLTE networks. The other sub-objectives are:
1) To determine the superiority of the 4GLTE network over
the widely used 3G network.
2) To compare some features in particular: interoperability,
latency, scalability, design specification, convergence,
networking, cost effectiveness and data transmission
3) To illustrate and compare downlink, uplink speed and
latency between 3G and 4GLTE.
To explore the challenges faced by 4GLTE network and its
merit over 3G.
Considering the mobile telephony and wireless
communication, its history can be categorized into different
generations of networks. The first generation 1G according to
[7] is an analogue, voice based network. It evolved in the
1980s with some standards which includes: AMPS, NMT,
TDMA and TACS. Its evolution to 2G network was basically
due to its slow speed.
The three primary benefits of 2G network over its
predecessor is that - phone conversations were digitally
encrypted; 2G systems were significantly more efficient on
the spectrum allowing for far greater mobile phone
penetration levels; and 2G introduced data services for
mobile, starting with SMS text messages. This network is
primarily designed to offer voice services to the subscriber
Comparative Study of 3G and 4GLTE Network
A. D. Abioye, M. K. Joseph, and H. C. Ferreira
of Advances in Computer Networks, Vol. 3, No. 3, September 2015
DOI: 10.7763/JACN.2015.V3.176
hence it has a low transfer rates. It is primarily based on
CDMA and TDMA, depending on the multiplexing
technique used. The 2G is widely referred to as the GSM
The 2G and the 3G network have two network generation
bridges between them. They are the 2.5G and 2.75G. The
2.5G is a value added network to the preceding 2G network
such that it adds packet switching technique to the existing
circuit switching. It is widely referred to as GPRS such that
the circuit switching controls the voice part of the network
while packet switching controls the data transmission in the
network. CDMA2000 came into existence through the
introduction of the GPRS network. The major disadvantage
of this network is that it has a low speed in practice (i.e. its
theoretical speed is faster than the practical speed). The
evolution from 2.5G to 2.75G occurred through the
introduction of 8psk to the GPRS network. This leads to an
enhance data transmission rate.
EDGE was standardized by 3GPP as part of the GSM
family and it is an upgrade that provides a three-fold increase
in capacity of GSM and GPRS networks. However, the
second generation network system was found inadequate in
global roaming, capacity and speed. These lacking features
leads to the evolution of the third generation network system.
The primary aim for the emergence of the third generation
network system is specifically to offer greater speed in
practice to the subscribers and also support multimedia
activities. According to [8], based on the initiative-2000, the
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) defined 3G
network as a wireless network that is capable of high speed in
data transmission, ranging from 144kbps to greater than
The main reason for 3G to 4G all IP network evolution is to
form the same platform for all the pre-existing networks so as
to meet users’ needs as regards the expected improvement it
offers. In addition to all the 3G facilities, data transmission is
believed to go through the roof with speeds ranging between
100MBPs to 1GBPS - due to its fast speed, it is tagged a
network of “connect anytime, anywhere, anyhow”. 4G will
provide very smooth global roaming.
Single standard
Data band-
384 Kbps
Core network
PSTN, Packet network
Analog voice
Digital voice
Packet data and high capacity
bandwith high speed
In Table I we compare the standards, data bandwidth, core
network, multiplexing and services of IG to 4G networks. In
4G networks, we have the WIMAX and LTE networks and
both are IP based.
We use quantitative data obtained for some differentiating
features of 3G and 4GLTE networks based on literature
reviews. Quantitative measures and charts were utilized to
generate information which established the superiority of
4GLTE over the 3G network. Using charts we illustrate and
compare downlink, uplink speed and latency between 3G and
4GLTE. These data were from the South African providers.
Moreover, based on literature review the advantages of
4GLTE network over 3G network was discussed in this paper.
In the next section we discuss features such as
interoperability, latency, scalability, design specification,
convergence, networking, cost effectiveness and data
transmission rate.
In this section we discuss the merits of 4GLTE over 3G
networks. Based on literature review, the following features
show the advantage of 4GLTE network over 3G network.
They are stated as follows:
Interoperability: This feature shows LTE as a network that
has the ability to roam with other existing networks. It helps
LTE to be a mobile and portable network such that the service
providers are not limited to a single network system.
Conversely, in 3G different standards makes it hard to
interoperate and roam with other existing networks.
Latency: It simply means the delay of packet sent from a
server to get the client and then back. In the LTE network,
there’s a very low latency which enhances speed of the
network because they are interconnected with other. The
lower the rate of latency or delay in response time, the faster
the interaction between the device and the network to which
it is connected [10]. Low latency in LTE is as a result of its
support for games, application sharing, video and voice
conferencing over IP.
Scalability: The ability to handle increasing numbers of
users and diversity of services is referred to as scalability. It is
a challenging process in 3G but done with ease in 4GLTE
because it is an IP based network.
Design Specification: The 3G technology provides both
circuit design and packet design such that the combination of
these patterns makes 3G faster and better than the preceding
network. 4GLTE which is regarded as a seamless network
uses only packet switching which makes data transfer done in
nanoseconds compared to 3G network [7].
Convergence: In contrast to 3G, the fourth generation
network based on research is said to be a conglomerate of all
the existing network technologies rather than been a new
Journal of Advances in Computer Networks, Vol. 3, No. 3, September 2015
standard alone. By analysis, 4G network is defined as
combination of a local area network with the existing second
generation network.
Networking: Unlike the third generation (3G) network
which is specifically based on a wide-area concept whereby
networking is limited, the 4GLTE network involves the
hybrid networks which include both the wireless LAN and
the base station WAN design [11]. For this reason, the end
users have access to internet connectivity due to the presence
of base stations everywhere.
Cost Effectiveness: 4GLTE is a cost effective network
which doesn’t require the purchase of an extra spectrum as it
builds up on the existing networks. This is due to its capacity
to interoperate with the existing networks. Therefore
interoperability in LTE makes it a cost effective network
compared to the 3G network.
Data Transmission Rate: the 3G network which is based on
wideband CDMA operates in 5 MHz of bandwidth and
produces minimum download data rates of 384 kb/s under
normal conditions and close to 2 Mb/s as maximum rate. 3G
phone standards was expanded and enhanced to further
expand data speed and capacity. The WCDMA phones adds
high speed packet access (HSPA) of higher level QAM
modulation to get speeds up to 21 or 42 Mbps downlink (cell
site to phone) and up to 7 and/or 14 Mbps uplink (phone to
cell site). While in the fourth generation network, a
completely contrasting radio technology is used. LTE
support both FDD (Frequency Division Duplexing) and TDD
(Time Division Duplexing) and works with two multiplexing
techniques namely OFDMA and SC-FDMA for uplink and
downlink respectively [12].
Unlike CDMA in 3G, Orthogonal Frequency Division
Multiplexing (OFDM) and OFDM access are used. Here, the
modulation technique divides a channel usually 5, 10 or 20
MHz wide into smaller sub-channels or subcarriers each 15
kHz wide. Each is modulated with part of the data. The fast
data is divided into slower streams that modulate the
subcarriers with one of several modulation schemes like
QPSK or 16QAM.
Predominantly voice
driven data was
always add on
Converged data and
voice over IP
Wide area cell based
of wireless LAN
and wide area
(in mobile mode)
Frequency band
Circuit and packet
Packet switching
A number of air link
protocol including
All IP based(IPv6)
In Table II we compare the network architecture, speed,
frequency band, switching techniques, access technologies
and Internet protocols of 3G and 4G networks.
LTE, in its basic form, does not support uplink Multiple
Input Multiple Output (MIMO) [12]. LTE MIMO technique
that refers to utilize of multiple antennas at transmitter and
receiver area may be applied for both DL as well as for UL
channel [2]. LTE’s ability to improve spectral efficiency
much beyond the current LTE performances is very much
unlikely, and so the only way to achieve that higher data rates
is to increase the channel bandwidth [12].
This section of the paper shows the use of selfanalytical
tools to affirm the described differences and superiority of
4GLTE over the 3G network. The data used were gotten from
South African Latency and Speed test result through the
speed tester server for both 3G and 4GLTE network based on
MTN South Africa network.
In Table III we compare the latency time and speed test
results of 3G and 4GLTE.
Network Features
Latency time
Uplink rate
Downlink rate
In Fig. 1 we illustrate the chart representation for the
downlink and uplink speeds in both 3G and 4GLTE networks,
it can be confirmed that the downlink speed i.e. the speed
from the base station to end users is higher in the 4GLTE
network compared to that in the 3G network.
Fig. 1. Downlink and uplink speed representation.
Fig. 2. Latency/delay time representation.
The above stated data shows the uplink data in 4GLTE is
better off than 3G by a difference of 5.63Mbps in practice
based on MTN SA [13] network.
By taking into account the cognizance of the uplink speed
i.e. the speed for data upload is higher in 4GLTE network as
compared to that of the 3G network by a difference of
Journal of Advances in Computer Networks, Vol. 3, No. 3, September 2015
6.24Mbps as regards MTN SA [13] network. These speeds
constitute to the greater data transfer rates found in 4GLTE
network compared to that of 3G network.
Fig. 2 shows how delay time/latency that makes 4GLTE a
superior network compared to the 3G network. Latency as
known is the time taken for packet sent from the server to get
to the end user and then back to the server. Comparing a
latency of 44ms in MTN SA 4GLTE to the 99ms delay time
found in MTN SA [13] 3G network, it simply means it takes a
decreased delay time of 55ms for packet sent on 4GLTE to
get to the client and then back to MTN SA [13] 4GLTE server.
This is a practical feature that makes 4GLTE network
supports teleconferencing, games better than the 3G network.
In this paper we provide a high level overview from 1G to
4GLTE network and some factors responsible for migration
from each network to another. We discuss the advantages of
4GLTE network over 3G network. The speed, in particular,
the downlink and uplink, latency and the data transmission
rates were analyzed to show the superiority of 4GLTE to 3G
networks. Based on these proved features, 4GLTE network
offers a highly competitive performance and it provides a
good platform for further evolution. The downlink speed in
4GLTE is higher than 3G, and the uplink data in 4GLTE is
better off in 4GLTE and these networks also have a greater
data transfer rates than 3G networks.
Nevertheless, 4GLTE requires improvement in
interference cancellation at user terminal and as well, more
research work is required in the area of VoIP in 4GLTE
network. Migration from 4GLTE to LTE-Advanced and
comparison of their performance aspects is also a challenge
that needs critical consideration in the African context in
particular. There is scope for future research on the use of
4GLTE for the end users.
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telecommunication technology standards, International Journal on
Computer Science and Engineering, vol. 3, no. 5, pp. 2061-2067, 2011.
[3] R. R. Choudary, “A network overview of massive MIMO for 5G
wireless cellular: System model and potentials,International Journal
of Engineering Research and General Science, vol. 2, issue 4,
June-July, pp. 338-347, 2014.
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technology, International Journal of Computer Science Issues, vol. 8,
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[13] MTN SA. (2014). [Online]. Available:
A. D. Abioye completed his B.Tech. degree in Nigeria
and is pursuing his M.Tech. degree of electrical
engineering at University of Johannesburg, South
Africa. His research interests include 4G, 4GLTE
networks and telecommunications.
Meera K. Joseph received the degree of DPhil. in
engineering management from University of
Johannesburg in 2013 and M.C.A degree in 1997 from
Bangalore University, India. Many post graduate
students completed under her supervision and she has
many IEEE international conference papers, journal
papers and book chapters to her credit. Her research
interests include information and communication
technology for development, smart grids, cloud
computing, networks and telecommunications. She works as a senior
lecturer at UJ and is a professional member of IITPSA.
H. C. Ferreira received the degrees of B.Sc. (Eng.) in
electrical (cum laude) in 1976, M.Sc. (Eng.) in
electronic (cum laude) in 1978, and D.Sc. (Eng.) in
1980 from the University of Pretoria. From 1980 to
1981, he was invited to be a post-doctoral researcher at
the Linkabit Corporation (Predecessor of Qualcomm)
in San Diego, CA, USA. In 1983, he joined the Rand
Afrikaans University, Johannesburg, South Africa
(currently University of Johannesburg) where he was
promoted to professor in 1989. He has served several terms chairing staff
and line functions within the RAU Faculty of Engineering’s unique pre-1994
matrix structure, and also two terms as a chairman of the Department of
Electrical and Electronic Engineering, from 1994 to 1999. Since 1984, he
has been a visiting researcher at seven universities and two companies in
both the USA and Europe. This includes the Institute for Experimental
Mathematics at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, with whom
his research group has had a cooperation and exchange agreement since
1992. His research interests are in digital communications and information
theory, especially coding techniques. His current applications of the research
include power line communications, video communications and networks.
Journal of Advances in Computer Networks, Vol. 3, No. 3, September 2015
... He, however, identified one of the challenges to the successful deployment of 4G as its inability to meet up with content based interactive videos. [9], did not address core challenges to the roll-out of 4G LTE services such as complexity in LTE handover process or the problem of support for voice quality in an all-IP network like LTE. [10], carried out a comparative study on the performance of 3G and 4G LTE networks. Based on his findings, he stated that 4G LTE network performed better than 3G network in the areas of interoperability, latency, scalability, convergence, data rate, among others. ...
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Nokia, a leading equipment vendor, named Nigeria as a "priority country" in March 2014, when it announced it was expanding its presence with the opening of a new office in the country's largest city Lagos, and an overhaul of its existing office in capital city Abuja. [1]. Nigeria, therefore, present a huge market potential in the telecoms world. However, this potential has not been fully tapped as broadband penetration is abysmally low. Also, next generation technology is needed to drive the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Smart Cities and various smart innovations technology can avail. [2]. This research looked at how these problems could be tackled through the deployment of 4G LTE. It was found that for the 4G LTE network to be successfully deployed across the whole of Nigeria, certain factors had to be addressed. Some of these factors include, spectrum challenge, challenges in the implementation of hard handover, inability to acquire 4G LTE enabled devices due to low-income base of users, inadequate number of base stations and problem integrating 4G equipment with existing legacy networks.
Nowadays, the usage of the internet has become a necessity to nearly every household. However, the developing countries remains to suffer from the costs of internet services especially through mobile wireless networks (Third generation network (3G) and Forth generation network (4G)) when the majority of the internet users in those countries are of low-income. This has elevated the need to reduce costs through different ways; however, not without limitations as one of the biggest obstacles in this field was finding data and information on it. The aim of this work is to moderate downloads between mobile internet and Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) in order to reduce the costs for the consumer through using the offloading techniques to manage the data consuming behavior for the customer to achieve our goal. This research will prove that we can reduce data consuming cost by more than 93% as shown in the experimental results.
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By examining the two papers on 4G and 3G, namely wireless networks: opportunities and challenges by Hassan Gobjuka, Verizon, 919 hidden bridge irving, Tx 75038 and wireless network: opportunities and challenges emphasis us to throw light on the differences between the two networks. This task is being done in order to list out the drawbacks and merits of these two evolutions of the networks and further to implement R&D research to bring out their sparks in this modern era. The differences are done on the following Index terms: Background difference, definitions, technologies progress, speed/ rate of transmission, switching technologies used, network, band width, design specification, QoS, service and billing, features and capabilities.
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In this article device-to-device (D2D) communication underlaying a 3GPP LTE-Advanced cellular network is studied as an enabler of local services with limited interference impact on the primary cellular network. The approach of the study is a tight integration of D2D communication into an LTE-Advanced network. In particular, we propose mechanisms for D2D communication session setup and management involving procedures in the LTE System Architecture Evolution. Moreover, we present numerical results based on system simulations in an interference limited local area scenario. Our results show that D2D communication can increase the total throughput observed in the cell area.
This paper addresses the main features of the transition from the Long Term Evolution standard (LTE) to its successor Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A). The specifications of the new release have taken several years and included thousands of temporary documents. The output, thus, would be tens of volumes of details. Turning this number of volumes into a single manuscript is a very useful resource for many researchers. One paper of this length must therefore choose its contents wisely if it has to do more than just scratching the surface of such a complex standard.
The primary aim of this paper is to provide an overview of wireless communication fundamentals, and the approach used considers them within the context of the following four categories — radio propagation, wireless air interface, advanced antenna systems and interference effects. In addition to this, a representative set of mobile systems are compared to show that their differences are primarily due to them having different combinations of channel transport, modulation scheme and regulatory constraints on transmit power, channel bandwidth, operating frequency and channel duplex.
A highly practical guide rooted in theory to include the necessary background for taking the reader through the planning, implementation and management stages for each type of cellular network. Present day cellular networks are a mixture of the technologies like GSM, EGPRS and WCDMA. They even contain features of the technologies that will lead us to the fourth generation networks. Designing and optimising these complex networks requires much deeper understanding. Advanced Cellular Network Planning and Optimisation presents radio, transmission and core network planning and optimisation aspects for GSM, EGPRS and WCDMA networks with focus on practical aspects of the field. Experts from each of the domains have brought their experiences under one book making it an essential read for design practitioners, experts, scientists and students working in the cellular industry. Key Highlights Focus on radio, transmission and core network planning and optimisation Covers GSM, EGPRS, WCDMA network planning & optimisation Gives an introduction to the networks/technologies beyond WCDMA, and explores its current status and future potential Examines the full range of potential scenarios and problems faced by those who design cellular networks and provides advice and solutions all backed up with real-world examples This text will serve as a handbook to anyone engaged in the design, deployment, performance and business of Cellular Networks. "Efficient planning and optimization of mobile networks are key to guarantee superior quality of service and user experience. They also form the essential foundation for the success of future technology development, making this book a valuable read on the road towards 4G." -Tero Ojanperä, Chief Technology Officer, Nokia Networks.
This paper reviews and presents the latest results in the cell search issue of the 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) systems. Cell Search is a basic function of any cellular system, during which process time and frequency synchronization between the mobile terminal and the network is achieved. Such synchronization is especially important for 3GPP Long Term Evolution systems, which rely heavily on the orthogonality of the uplink and downlink transmission and reception to optimize the radio link performance. As in conventional cellular systems, the mobile terminal in an LTE system acquires time and frequency synchronization by processing the synchronization channel. Design of the synchronization channel is being developed within the standardization activities of 3GPP Long Term Evolution and is still evolving. In this paper, we present the design considerations and various new and promising design concepts for the synchronization channel. We evaluate some specific solutions and provide numerical performance results.
A survey on telecommunication technology standards
  • S S Sengar
  • A Singh
  • P N Tripathi
S. S. Sengar, A. Singh, and P. N. Tripathi, "A survey on telecommunication technology standards," International Journal on Computer Science and Engineering, vol. 3, no. 5, pp. 2061-2067, 2011.
A network overview of massive MIMO for 5G wireless cellular: System model and potentials
  • R R Choudary
R. R. Choudary, "A network overview of massive MIMO for 5G wireless cellular: System model and potentials," International Journal of Engineering Research and General Science, vol. 2, issue 4, June-July, pp. 338-347, 2014.
Comparative study of 3G and 4G in mobile technology
  • K Kumaravel
K. Kumaravel, "Comparative study of 3G and 4G in mobile technology," International Journal of Computer Science Issues, vol. 8, issue 5, pp. 256-259, 2011.